Network Requirements Reviews

ESnet conducts biannual network requirements reviews to determine the current and future science networking requirements for the six DOE Office of Science program offices. The purpose of these reviews is to accurately characterize the near-term, medium-term and long-term network requirements of the science conducted by each program office. Since two reviews are conducted per year, we refresh the network requirements information for each of the six program offices every three years.

The reviews attempt to bring about a network-centric understanding of the science process used by the researchers and scientists, and to derive network requirements from that understanding. The collected requirements, along with their science context, are captured in a formal review report, which is made available to ESnet, the scientists, and the program managers. We have found this to be an effective method for determining network requirements for ESnet's customer base.

Case Studies

The principal inputs to the reviews are the views of the DOE/SC program office, the experience and expertise of the scientists present at the review, and "case study" documents describing the science involved. A case study document describes the science being done, the ways in which the scientists use the network in the process of doing their science, the instruments and facilities used, how scientists interact with the network, and how these things are likely to change over time. In addition to the narrative text describing the science, a case study contains a table containing a distillation of the network-centric aspects of the science.

In particular, a case study document should answer the following questions. When preparing a case study, authors should use the case study template located on the Documents and Background Materials page.

  • What science is being done?
  • What instruments and facilities are used?
  • What is the process of science?
  • How are the use of instruments and facilities, the process of science, and other aspects of the science going to change over time?
    • What is coming in the next 0-24 months?
    • What is coming in the next 2-5 years?
    • What is coming beyond 5 years out?
  • Are new instruments or facilities being built, or are there other significant changes coming?

Review Process

The reviews typically begin with presentations by ESnet staff and by the program managers from DOE. If appropriate, other presentations from significant partners may also be given (e.g. Internet2, NASA, NCAR, NIH, NSF). After that, review attendees talk through the case studies in turn, and the science and its use of the network is discussed. We have found that round-table discussions are much more productive for case study discussions than formal presentations - the interactivity of a round-table discussion is typically very valuable. For this reason, presentation time is typically limited to 5 slides and 10 minutes, with the remaining time devoted to discussion of the case study content.

After the reviews, attendees update their case study documents with information or clarifications from the review and ESnet staff compiles case studies into a final report, including any material that came up in the review that does not fit into one particular case study (e.g. needs or issues that affect all science done by the program). After the report is examined and approved by all participants, the final report is posted in the requirements section of the ESnet web site.

There is a FAQ page that provides more information for case study authors.


Previous Reviews